New York City. In the basement of the shop where she works, Chloe Moore is drugged and taken underground. There, at the mercy of her abductor, she is tattooed with a message – simply the phrase “the second”. But Chloe knows little about this, as the tattooist – a man whose plans reach far beyond one woman – hasn’t used ink. He’s used concentrated poison…
Lincoln Rhyme, the quadraplegic consulting detective and his partner Amelia Sachs are called in to investigate, but find the crime scene purged of almost all trace evidence, Rhyme’s speciality. The only item of interest is a section from a book detailing Rhyme’s involvement in the most important case of his career – the serial killer known as the Bone Collector. But is the so-called Skin Collector out for revenge, or something much more dangerous?
I’ve been a fan of Jeffery Deaver since reading The Bone Collector about sixteen or so years ago – although to be absolutely fair, it was the second book, The Coffin Dancer, which really hooked me. Since then I’ve kept my eye out for his work – not quite a completist, but pretty close. And the best of the bunch is usually the Lincoln Rhyme series. I think he’s probably my favourite thriller writer, due to the multiple twists and turns he piles into his plots. It can sometimes backfire – the recent XO, for example – but usually keeps the reader completely hooked – the even more recent The Kill Room. But what about this one?
One niggle – the proofreader missed the three occasions when a word that ends with “y” and then quotation marks, such as “forty”, has somehow becomes “fort”Y.
That’s the only niggle. Other than that, this book is one of the finest thrillers that I’ve read. A disturbing new adversary for Rhyme, with plenty of well-written point of view sections from the killer that push the plot forward without at any time being unnecessarily disgusting… actually, one bit is pretty gross, but it doesn’t involve the murders. The plot is nicely convoluted and, unlike most thrillers, is actually fairly clued. Even small items turn out to be part of the bigger picture – it’s a masterpiece of plotting.
It also gives an insight into something that I had no previous knowledge – that of skin art, or tattooing. Even now, I’m not sure I understand why people would permanently mark themselves, but I’ve got a little more insight than I did.
Yes, certain twists you might see coming, but I seriously doubt you’ll catch them all. And while this is perfectly enjoyable for the new reader, it also delves into a few of the earlier Rhyme novels (without spoiling them) to give some of the developments some added weight. And I hope Deaver gets on with the next Rhyme book asap as while this book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, it does tease the next book, which I want to read NOW!
Thanks for my local library for getting this in very soon after publication – needless to say, this is Highly Recommended.